Saturday, 26 May 2012

That time of year again!

Usually each May I rear a batch of Bombyx Mori silkworms and this year is no different, it just happened later than usual. I have to watch my mulberry tree in early May to see if there are any leaf buds showing. That is the sign to put eggs to warm so they will hatch 10 days to 2 weeks later. The weather conspired against me and I realised that was was going to be unable to rear a pure strain of Bombyx mori in time to take them to Hatfield House Living Crafts event, So.. I ordered some medium sized silkworms from an online company along with some ready made artificial food for them to eat. Problem solved! Now I am also hatching some eggs in order to take them to Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers in 2 weeks time.
This photo shows all stages of the silkworms life cycle. On the right are the eggs which should hatch in another week. In the middle are cocoons spun by the caterpillars taken to Hatfield House. For the first time I had caterpillars spinning at a show and people found it fascinating. In the container with some leaves are small caterpillars. The brown objects in the middle are chrysalis which I took from their cocoons. In the two round containers on the left are mating pairs. The two moths at the top and the one in the centre are males awaiting hatching females.